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Salesforce, Google Extend Flights on The Cloud

Google and Salesforce

Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) announced today that it will offer its suite of customer relationship management (CRM) applications to businesses through the Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Apps cloud-hosting platform.

The partnership, which builds on an existing alliance between Google and the software-as-a-service (SaaS) leader, signifies an accelerated campaign to upend Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) old-line Office productivity suite by enabling businesses to run their operations entirely in the cloud.

Heralding the expanded partnership, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was his usual blunt self in his assessment of the disruptive impact new models of computing will have on traditional business lines.

"The combination of our leading CRM applications and Google's business productivity applications pushes forward the transformation of the industry to cloud computing," Benioff said in a statement. "The end of software is here."

By software, Benioff of course means the traditional desktop model upon which Microsoft built its empire. Salesforce has been one of the most successful companies in overturning the traditional software model, in the process helping build the fast-growing enterprise SaaS market.

Salesforce already offers an integration with Microsoft Outlook and Office, but those are desktop applications. Today's partnership with Google is about enterprise applications that live in the cloud, accessible through a Web interface, a market which Microsoft has been slowly warming up to with its Office Live platform, though it is still playing catch-up to Google Apps.

This is the second jointly released product from the two companies, following last June's release of Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords, a one-stop shop for managing advertising, lead generation, sales and customer support.

The tie-up will fuse Salesforce's sales, marketing and support applications -- broadly termed CRM -- with Google's productivity and communications offerings. Through the new offering, Salesforce customers will have access to Google's Gmail, Docs, Calendar and Talk instant-messaging applications.

In addition to the Salesforce CRM offerings, Saleforce for Google Apps will offer developers the opportunity to create customized applications through the Force.com Platform and Google's open APIs. IT managers will thus be able to extend Google Apps into their own programs such as sales quotes, or delivery schedules.

The companies said that the basic Salesforce for Google Apps is freely available today to existing Salesforce customers, with the option of purchasing a premium version with telephone customer support and enhanced APIs for $10 per user per month.